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Wimbledon Day 6 - preview

Court 1 at Wimbledon, June 28
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A few hours before play, it's raining and Court 1 is tented up.

WIMBLEDON - Saturday morning featured blue skies, gray skies, pouring rain, tarps on, Centre Court roof closed, brighter skies, tarps off, grayer skies, tarps back on and ... it appears we could rinse, repeat for the forseeable future.

But there definitely will be play on Centre Court. And because of the draw, fans are always getting Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on the same day, which could get to be too much of a good thing on a day both get challenged.

It's unlikely today's third-round day will be that day - Nadal vs. Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan, Federer vs. Santiago Giraldo of Colombia. Both players probably are thrilled just to be in the third round, and nearly as thrilled to be on Centre Court with David Beckham in the stands.

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Roger Federer is last on Centre Court Saturday, and if the roof stays on, that will be quite to his liking.

Roger Federer is last on Centre Court Saturday, and if the roof stays on, that will be quite to his liking.

The other guaranteed match is No. 5 women's seed Maria Sharapova against American Alison Riske.

Riske has developed somewhat of a reputation as a grass-court specialist, mostly because the better results of her career so far have come on this surface – not because she serves and volleys, or even ventures to the net any more often than the players of her ilk.

But she has beaten two solid players to get to this third-round meeting with the 2004 champion: No. 26 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first round, and the shotmaking Italian Camila Giorgi in the second round.

Weather permitting, here are the other matches to watch. Randomly today, they're mostly women's matches. After the Venus Williams vs. Petra Kvitova barnburner Friday, they have a lot to live up to.

 

[1] Serena Williams vs. [25] Alizé Cornet (FRA)

These two are actually quite friendly, and Cornet is certainly quite dramatic.

They've played five times, and Cornet has won twice (once by walkover). But she won their last meeting, in Dubai this year, 6-4, 6-4.

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Cornet and Williams met in Dubai this year, with the Frenchwoman coming out the winner.

Cornet and Williams met in Dubai this year, with the Frenchwoman coming out the winner.

 

[9] John Isner (USA) vs. [19] Feliciano Lopez (ESP)

Lopez, a lefty who unlike many of his Spanish brethren, loves the net, is on a grass-court streak this summer that he's riding at Wimbledon.

Isner, who has been under the radar as much as someone 6-foot-10 who once played a 70-68 fifth set at Wimbledon can be, will do well to challenge Lopez's weaker backhand and make him hit passing shot after passing shot to beat him.

 

[13] Genie Bouchard (CAN) vs. [20] Andrea Petkovic (GER)

The Canadian is the favorite here. But she's 0-3 against Petkovic under three very different circumstances. The first came three years ago, when Bouchard was 17 and playing on her first wild card at her home-country event, the Rogers Cup. Petkovic gave her a lesson.

The second came indoors on a fast court in Luxembourg last fall and after a strong start, Bouchard succumbed 6-1 in the third. The latest came in April in Charleston, S.C. in the semifinals of the Family Circle Cup where again, Bouchard got off to a strong start. She looked to have the match in hand in the third set but faded; Petkovic took it 7-5 in the third, and won the tournament.

 

[11] Ana Ivanovic (SRB) vs. [19] Sabine Lisicki (GER)

Drama, drama, drama in this Betty and Veronica matchup, which will be full of hard hitting, big serving (Lisicki), and nervous serving (Ivanovic). There could be tears. There could be great tennis. There will definitely be a lot of fist pumps and "AJDE!!!!!!!"s. Lisicki, let's recall, is a defending finalist.

 

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